MPhil in Archaeological Heritage and Museums - University of Cambridge

Content of course
This course exists of two main parts. One is Museum Studies and the other is Heritage Studies.

One part of the Heritage section focuses on themanagement of (archaeological) heritage on regional, national and international levels. Various dilemmas will be discussed with regard to for example, community involvement, indigenous rights, sustainability, and tourism management. You will also get a good insight in the work of UNESCO, particularly the various heritage-related Conventions.

The other part of the Heritage section is more theoretical. This part will cover heritage as related to concepts such as ownership, globalization, (post) conflict, value, identity, inclusion, intangibility, post colonialism, and emotions.

The Museum Studies part covers the history and development of museums and collections. Furthermore you will learn about theories (and hopefully get some practice) about collection management: cataloguing, digitizing, research, public access, and storage. You will learn about the dynamics and challenges of creating exhibitions, outreach and educational programmes. Finally, topics such as the collaboration with source communities, the treatment of human remains, repatriation, and illicit trade in cultural property will be discussed.

Course structure, workload and assessment
In this course there are few contact hours. I had on average three or four two-hour seminars every week (so 6-8 contact hours).

At Cambridge they give you a gigantic reading list of many full books rather than chapters or articles. It is not possible to read everything and they do not expect you to either. You are supposed to make a selection yourself of what you think is important to read.

The workload is much lower than at UCU, but it is harder to get high grades. I had to write only 4 papers (of 3,000-4,000 words) throughout the whole year! But then in June you get two exams (the only ones of the year!), one about Museums and one about Heritage, and you are expected to make a selection of relevant readings of the whole year to study. You base your selection on the lectures and exams from previous years. It is thus advisable to keep up with the readings throughout the year.
The exams and papers are 50% of your grade. In the summer you write your dissertation (15,000 words), which is the other 50%.

Laura Kraak (BA UCU 2011, MPhil Cambridge 2012)